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Christina’s plea following her “silent cancer” diagnosis

2024-03-21T10:50:31+00:00Thursday 21 March 2024|

A Walsall ovarian cancer patient, diagnosed at the age of 70, wants to raise awareness of potential signs of the disease that is often dubbed a “silent” condition.

Christina Wilson was fit and healthy but started having small bladder leaks in 2022 which she initially put down to age.

The mother of two’s symptoms became more regular along with pain in her tummy when she exercised and had severe bloating. She was trying to lose weight for her son’s wedding but felt she was getting “heavier” despite losing her appetite.

After several kidney infections Christina attended the Emergency Department at Walsall Manor Hospital and was given blood tests and further scans.

The following day she received her ovarian cancer diagnosis when she attended the Gynaecology Department.

“I felt sick and shocked. I didn’t know anything about ovarian cancer – it is described as the most silent cancer and women need to be educated,” said Christina, 71.

“The next thought was for my son sitting by me as I had the diagnosis, taking this in and knowing I needed to make my youngest son’s wedding – I was so frightened.

“The scan showed I had two tumours, one on each ovary. The Doctors and Nurses were wonderful, and I remember thinking there was a special kindness in their nature – they really put me and my family at ease.

“My admission to hospital was a welcome relief as I was finally going to get the six and a half litres were drained from my stomach. I think everybody was jealous that I lost a stone overnight – right before Christmas!

“Now, I know why this is the hidden cancer. All women out there should never put bladder leaks and a change in their stomach size down to their age – it should always be checked.”

After Christina’s diagnosis, she was able to start chemotherapy right away to stop the cancer from spreading further and also had major surgery which included a hysterectomy.

She said: “Chemotherapy was tough but 10 days after I felt well enough to socialise.

“Having things to look forward to in between these sessions is so important. My hair started to fall out after the first round, but I do have to admit that choosing my new wig with my friend was fun!”

Carol Smith, Gynae-oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist, said: “Christina listened to her body and sought medical advice. This led to her undergoing extensive treatment which she has met with positivity and strength.

“I would like to stress the same message to women everywhere regarding the signs and symptoms of this silent disease.”

Christina attended her son’s wedding and thoroughly enjoyed his special day. She is now in remission, taking daily chemotherapy tablets and having monthly appointments with the Gynaecology Team.

For Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, Christina is urging all women over the age of 50 to be aware of potential signs of ovarian cancer.

Ovarian cancer can affect anyone who has ovaries. Recognise the BEAT symptoms of ovarian cancer:

  • B is for bloating that doesn’t come and go
  • E is for eating difficulty and feeling full more quickly
  • A is for abdominal and pelvic pain you feel most days
  • T is for toilet changes and urination or bowel habits

Visit the NHS website for further information about ovarian cancer.

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